I’ve been wanting to showcase some more health foods here on the blog and thought this Italian Chopped Salad was a good place to start.
Don’t get me wrong, I could talk for days about the never-ending shenanigans that go on around this house but I do have some stored up nutrition knowledge that is just waiting to explode. So it’s time my friend for a mix of everything good with and extra-large dose of realism.
Because lets face it, knowledge provides clarity and clarity provides power. Power to override what you think you should be doing into what you NEED to be doing.
Together, lets end the struggle and just make this your new style.
Psssst, it’s called health and it looks so good on you.
So first up, Italian chopped salad. All the goodies with a mound of greens is what makes a salad great. Layers, upon layers, upon layers. But in all seriousness, the layers provide the flavors and those flavors of real food are packed with nutrients.
Plus, you really can’t go wrong with chopped salads. Cut fine and packed with whatever toppings you like. This is my tip to make this family friendly because I promise even your kids will eat this meal, you just have to do it right.
The first step, stop believing that your kids don’t like health food. They do and they will eat it, just give them a chance without making a big deal of it. The second step, serve it as a salad bar. Lay out the endless supply of toppings, a bowl full of chopped lettuce and a dressing or two and let everyone build their own. It’s hands on, it’s picking your flavor profile and it’s falling in love with never having to cook separate meals again.
Just to forewarn you, if your kids are like mine, you may have one that just eats a mound of tomatoes and goat cheese. I promise that is okay too. Let them be their own judge. Food independence it’s a real thing.
It really just boils down to the layers. In this flavorful combination we have laid out; banana peppers, cherry tomatoes, sliced pepperoni (natural, like the good stuff) , olives, red onion, Parmesan cheese (optional), marinated artichoke hearts, roasted chickpeas, chopped basil, and Italian dressing
Those roasted seasoned chickpeas are what I really want to take a second to talk about. Chickpeas are a powerhouse of nutrition, not to mention a great side, snack or topping to prep ahead. Full of healthy protein and fat along with a serving providing 26% of most of our daily iron need, I’d say it’s a safe bet to put this on the menu.
Chickpeas are also an excellent natural source of zinc and copper, two minerals that are essential for the development and function of immune cells. Just one cup of cooked chickpeas provides nearly 30% of your daily value for copper and about 17% of the daily value for zinc.
To sum it up, chickpeas have shown benefits in protecting against heart disease, keeping your GI tract in check with the loads of fiber, supporting your immune system and reducing your risk of cancer. That’s just looking at a few health benefits.
We haven’t even begun talking versatility in flavor and texture. If you haven’t tapped into the chickpea market, this recipe doesn’t showcase everything you can do with them. I have seen chickpeas used in a variety of sauces, dips, soups, baked goods (chickpea puree), marinated and roasted as a snack or in addition to a meal such as in this lovely recipe.
It’s pretty simple and they’re kind of fun to just pop in your mouth.
So what do you say? Time to take a stab at this chickpea thing and learn to embrace just another healthy food?
I’d say so and this is the perfect place to start.
Roasted, delicious and cleanse worthy. Give me all the Italian chopped salad every single day.
- 8 cups butter lettuce, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- All-natural pepperoni
- Black Olives
- Green Olives
- Marinated Artichoke Hearts
- Banana Pepper Rings
- Parmesan cheese
- Red Onion
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese (optional)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 2 Tbsp all-natural mayonnaise (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Rinse and drain chickpeas. Lay on a towel to completely dry.
- Place in a bowl and toss to coat with olive oil and seasonings.
- Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20-30 minutes stirring every 10.
- Remove and set aside.
- Meanwhile chop all vegetables and place in dishes creating a bar.
- In a mason jar or blender add all salad dressing ingredients and shake or blend until fully mixed.
- Prepare salad to your liking.